I mentioned Twitter last time, and writing about how I appreciated its versatility made me remember something. The first weblog I ever had was on Yahoo!360. I knew well of (and hated) MySpace, but hadn't heard of Facebook. I always preferred 360 to MySpace because it seemed that 360, by virtue of being a Yahoo! service, attracted a wider and more eclectic audience, whereas MySpace was almost exclusively a teen phenomenon. Call it ageism or technophobia, but it's probably safe to assume that more people have an e-mail address than a MySpace account, therefore that older and/or less tech-savvy generation still "ooh"-ing and "ah"-ing over Electronic Mail will be more likely to start up a weblog if that service is offered as part of the "packaged deal" that came with their e-mail account as opposed to seeking out an external, self-contained site that requires separate registration. In other words, on Y!360, you got more people who would probably not have otherwise started a weblog because they wouldn't want to leave their comfort zone.
Yahoo!360 is gone now, crushed underfoot by practically every other social networking site in existence, the key problem being a few unresolved technical issues (which led to my friend Vanessa tragically losing her entire account), the others being a deliberate dismantling by Yahoo! in light of a proposed buy-out of Facebook and an attempt by Yahoo! to make the networking tools of 360 a more integrated part of one's Yahoo! profile. I've archived those entries to a site called Multiply, a rather shameless MySpace knock-off. I won't link them here; they're not much to look at. Most of them recount my obsessions over my own personal pet peeve about 360 in light of other weblog sites like Multiply or Blogger, which was mobile-friendliness. I prided myself on "breaking the system" by using my PSP's built-in web-browser and wi-fi to write entries in clear defiance of desktops. It probably went a little too far; every time I got a new device, my readers would know it, evidenced by my "Hey, guess what I'm writing this on!" style of entry.
There was something I don't think I ever said on 360 and I think I never said it because I wasn't actually sure how well it would translate to text, so here goes:
The very best thing about 360 is that WE'RE ALL DIFFERENT, COMING FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, ALL OVER THE WORLD, and yet, at the end of the day, we're all just sitting at home in front of our computers, talking to one another.
the very worst thing about 360 is that we're all different, coming from all walks of life, all over the world, and yet, at the end of the day, WE'RE ALL JUST SITTING AT HOME IN FRONT OF OUR COMPUTERS TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER.
The point is, while I may have been seemingly singing the praises of Twitter last entry, my adoration is almost entirely conceptual; the first social networking site made with mobile networks distinctly in mind. By its very nature, it encourages people to go out into the world and not feel tethered to their undoubtedly uncomfortable desk chairs in front of their undoubtedly cluttered and cumbersome desks upon which rest their undoubtedly ghastly laptops and monolithic desktops.
To crib a saying by filmmaker Jean Cocteau: Weblogs will never truly achieve anything until they can be taken to all the same places ordinary notebooks and pens can go.
Twitter was a good start.
Tumblr appears to be the next step.
Evernote is the long stride between them.